It’s the most dreaded moment of your life. Receiving those papers from who you thought was your forever. Aside from being completely crestfallen, here are some things you need to do immediately after getting served with divorce papers. And, of course, you will need to hire a divorce attorney.

Read Them

Even though it’s the last thing you want to do, it’s still vital to go through the divorce papers as soon as you receive them. If you’re not expecting to be served with divorce papers and the divorce is literally out of the blue, then you’re going to be shocked. However, you need to get your head in the game and thoroughly read through the papers to get a gist of what’s going on.

A lot of legal issues stem from the fact of not reading the divorce papers and being spiteful in response. That’s not the smartest choice, and the only person who will be affected, in more ways than one, will be you.

You’re probably wondering: What’s there to read? For starters, read the date until you need to respond to the serving of papers. This is highly important because the faster you respond, the better chances there are for you to help your case in court. So, always keep your eyes open for details that might be of importance, because you can use them to your advantage.

Don’t Let Emotions Control You

It’s natural to follow your instincts and rip up the papers as soon as you receive them, but it’s not advisable at all. Granted, this is a very tough time for your marriage, but it’s also a way to school your emotions and be calm and collected even in unwanted and unbearable situations.

You don’t want emotions to take the front seat and make decisions that you’ll regret after the fog has lifted. So, take a deep breath, be level-headed, and act like an adult, because this is going to be your saving grace.

Hire A Lawyer

This is the time to lawyer up. Since your soon-to-be ex is taking steps, you should follow suit as well. You might be thinking that a divorce is easy to handle and there’s no need for lawyers, but you would want to hold that thought right there. Unless you’re a divorce lawyer yourself, you can’t deal with all of the divorce drama that’s thrown your way.

You’re going to need some help from people who have the expertise to handle legal family issues. You’ll see for yourself how easy everything is to manage if you just get yourself a family attorney Fairfax VA. They’re like a beacon of light, guiding you through the dark tunnel of divorce.


Usually, there is a considerable time window that’s given to you for responding to the divorce papers. This is the time when you’ll be gathering yourself and getting a lawyer. Once that’s done, your lawyer will advise you to respond.

Not only this, they will tell you exactly what to write in your response and whether there are any claims in the served papers that aren’t right and you want to give your side of the story as well. So, buckle up.

Make A Counterclaim

When there are certain clauses in divorce papers that sound downright ridiculous, that’s the time when you can file for a counterclaim. A counterclaim is essentially an answer to the divorce papers and a demand that you want to negotiate or completely change some of the terms. This is your right and your lawyer help you in the process of filing a counterclaim application.

Common counterclaim grounds include child custody, asset division, and alienation. For giving your side of the story in court, you’ll need to have solid proof as well, so make sure that you’re on it.

Get A Good Support System

Divorce is hard and during this time, the last thing you want is to be strong. Well, you don’t have to. You can certainly rely on people you love and who love you unconditionally to help you through this process. Your family and friends can become the best support system for you.

You must let yourself be vulnerable because bottling up emotions is never a good thing. Be open with your family and friends and grieve if you need to. You can break down behind closed doors so that you can come out stronger on the other side.

You Are Not Alone

While it can be tempting to forget everything and fall into a deep, dark abyss, you can’t do that. If you have a child or children, then you need to be there for them, especially if the other parent is alienating them.

You need to make this rocky road as smooth of an experience as you can for your little ones. They’re not aware of certain things, given their age, so you’re going to have to work even harder and become stronger for the sake of your children because all they have left is you.

Educate Yourself Financially

Now is also a good time to go through your finances and start educating yourself on them. If you can still access your joint bank account with your spouse, then make sure that you have all of the details, statements, and statuses down. If you’ve been locked out of using any joint bank accounts, then don’t worry, because you can certainly use this as evidence in court.

Just get the details and timelines straight and you’ll have all of the proof you need to have a strong case in court, in case your spouse is abandoning you and the kid(s).

Gather Proof

If the marriage was already rocky and there were certain red flags like domestic violence, abuse, neglect, or any drug use, then you’re going to need to keep all of the relevant information locked and loaded, so that when the time comes, you can take your aim, in court.

This is going to weaken the armor of the opposing party in court and you better believe that the court will side with you, especially if you have evidence of questionable acts and tendencies. Now that you’re getting out of this marriage, you want to ensure that you cover everything, from start to finish.

Look After Yourself

Make sure to look after yourself. It can be easy to forget about yourself during this time, while you are juggling with intense court trials and being there for your child/children, but it’s really important to pamper yourself as well so that you can feel better.

Don’t wait for an occasion; call up your friends and schedule a dinner meet-up, have a spa day with your siblings/friends, or take a small impromptu trip with your kids, if you have the time between court dates, as these activities will refresh you. It will also give you more strength in going through the divorce process.


Divorce is never easy and that first blow is always the most damaging because, some people don’t see it coming. Now you know what to do. If this is confusing, simply find a good divorce lawyer Fairfax VA. They will walk you through the steps you need to take.